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State of Independence

27 August 2023

About a year ago, I was informed by an acquaintance, “I know you like to be independent . . .”

As if the condition is an affliction.

I’m ahead of the learning, or realization, curve on this one. It’s usually years before I realize that I’ve been insulted. The tone of voice used by this woman unmistakably communicated to me that I have a problem. Perhaps with her help, professional help, I could be cured of my ingrained desire to be an individual, to act independently of the herd, to be on my own.

What I found so abysmal about this condescending assessment is that the Modern American Woman has, ostensibly, been fixated, for decades, on achieving that State of Independence — so that she can oust her rival, The Man, from that coveted spot of top dog. In reality, the woman who claims to be in pursuit of independence is usually hot on the trail of seizing as much power, as possible, over people, women as well as men.

It’s an age-old problem, not new to this century, this past century, any century. The troubling truth is that “independence” has been peddled by profiteers to people who have no intention of doing the hard work of standing on their own two feet. They expect those feet to be bought for them, or subsidized, or handed over, fork-lifted to their doors.

It is true that I’ve an independent streak that precludes much of a need to join a group for assistance with concerns that I frankly believe ought to be dealt with single-handedly. I do not seek to diminish another individual by focusing on my individuality. That goal, in fact, augments the unique qualities of another person, if, in fact, that person has attained maturity.

Maturity, however, has been dumbed down for decades, to the point where juvenile thoughts and childish feelings masquerade as wisdom and sophistication. That prime of life is stuck somewhere in puberty.

I don’t blame advertisers or the corporation for this abomination. Each person is responsible for his or her own foibles and fortunes, but affluence, even amidst a deeply disturbing economic recession or two, has done the dirty deed of coddling humankind, or at least a sizable enough portion of the general public, into a distorted view of this journey called life. That crippling coddling created a false and demoralizing reality of materialism as the pathway to glee on easy street. When hard times arrive, as they always do, the moaning and groaning amongst the spoiled brats produce a cacophony that I instinctively flee. My tolerance of crybabies over the age of three goes into the negative; and my independent streak widens, and deepens.

That independent streak motivated me to leave the office world in order to start a family and to raise my children in-the-home. I was the only college-educated woman that I knew who made those decisions with a willing heart, and a happy face. I didn’t set out to be a pioneer woman in the suburbs of the 1990s, but that maverick stance is precisely what I accomplished.

When the subprime-spending collapse took place ‘round about 2008, I began to understand why I’d been such an outlier amongst hordes of liars, and a pesky annoyance among imposters: I was making them look bad despite their every effort to look not only better than what they were, but to look like something they were not.

My stance has always been that a woman makes her choice, as does a man, and then she must be responsible for the consequences of that choice. Otherwise she lives in bad faith. The bad-faith babes have outnumbered the good-faith gals for a long time. Most likely, that distribution has been constant for aeons. How else would misery, and a wide-scale misery, at that, occur?

The state of independence is a nirvana of sorts. One rarely attains that exalted position of separateness from others, largely because the need for genuine communion with another human being is so vital to living a happy life. The need to fake that communion likewise seems vital for some people, as was the case with the woman who viewed my independence as a threat to her not-so-hidden agenda to manipulate me and use me.

Getting your needs met can be an uplifting endeavour, filled with sincerity and the risk of being hurt; but also suffused with good will, kindness, and the desire for accord, even intimacy. Someone who refuses to permit her heart to beat true cannot listen to the promptings of that heart for harmony — because those promptings don’t exist.

She therefore opts for an emotional rip-off act, making use of phonied-up social niceties to ingratiate herself and thereby gain a sense of power over another person. If that person possesses a backbone of rugged individualism, those insincere words fall on deaf ears.

Those deaf ears of the independent, individualistic person founder when it comes to hearing the insults tossed at her. It can take years before the barbs are discovered by this radical. Even then, the affronts tend to miss her front, and back, side.

There are definite up-sides to standing outside of the throng. I’ll not tell you, though. It’s best if you figure out for yourself the wondrous ways to benefit from blazing your own trail and spearheading, without speed limits, your rare and spectacular sphere.

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